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Should I finish my MSW degree?

  • Yes, finish the degree

    Votes: 1 100.0%
  • No, start your pre-reqs ASAP

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    1

michigander95

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post here and I hope I’m posting in the right place! I’m currently in a Master’s of Social Work program with the intention to become a therapist. After completing my first year including my first field placement, I’ve determined that social work is not for me. I want a career in which I can see tangible results as well as use technical skills in combination with people skills rather than solely people skills. I personally think it would be exhausting to listen to people’s deepest emotional problems all day everyday. While I understand that happens in medicine, it’s not 100% of the job. Additionally, salary is a concern. The starting salary at my field placement was $24k with a Master’s degree. That is truly criminal in my eyes.

Last year before I applied for MSW programs I had floated around the idea of going into medicine, I even took a few prereqs at a local community college. For some context, I went to a top 20 undergrad and am at a top 5 MSW program. I struggled with severe mental health issues in undergrad, resulting in me failing a class and taking the past of least resistance resulting in a 3.29 GPA and a psychology degree. I was struggling so much that I didn’t have the mental space to even consider what I would be doing after I graduated considering I didn’t even believe I would live that long. In the past 2.5 years I’ve gotten my **** together and with the help of the right medications, I’m good, if not better, than before the mental illness hit. I got straight A’s for 5 semesters but it was never going to be enough to bring up my GPA to what it was before I failed that one class initially (stats).

I didn’t take any science classes in undergrad, other than anatomy & physiology 1 at the community college so I would have to go back and do all my pre-reqs. Thankfully, my father (an ER doc) has said he will pay for my pre-reqs. With the number of courses I have to take, I could conceivably get my GPA up to around a 3.5. Additionally, I have a 4.0 in my first year of grad school.

My biggest question is whether I should finish my MSW degree. I have 3 more semesters left, which would cost ~$45k in loans plus $10k in housing. Will having an unrelated master’s help me in the application process? Or is it a waste of time and money? I’m 24 which isn’t objectively that old, but I want to get moving ASAP.

One benefit I can see in finishing the degree is the opportunity for research publications. I’m currently working with a professor on her research on bipolar disorder which she has said will lead to publications. We’ve already submitted abstracts to a conference, one with me as first author, the other with her as first author. Unfortunately we won’t know if either was accepted until September.

Thanks in advance for your input!
 

RNthenDoc

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If I was in your shoes I’d forego spending more money on the MSW, *especially* if you can keep doing the research part. First author pubs are very valuable.

If you have the option, I’d knock out prerequisites and ECs, and then apply. If you don’t get in that first cycle, you could finish your MSW in the gap.

The reason why is that they don’t take Master’s GPA into account for acceptance, so your biggest priority should be acing prereqs and killing the MCAT. @Goro may have a more informed take! :)
 

Goro

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Hi everyone,

This is my first post here and I hope I’m posting in the right place! I’m currently in a Master’s of Social Work program with the intention to become a therapist. After completing my first year including my first field placement, I’ve determined that social work is not for me. I want a career in which I can see tangible results as well as use technical skills in combination with people skills rather than solely people skills. I personally think it would be exhausting to listen to people’s deepest emotional problems all day everyday. While I understand that happens in medicine, it’s not 100% of the job. Additionally, salary is a concern. The starting salary at my field placement was $24k with a Master’s degree. That is truly criminal in my eyes.

Last year before I applied for MSW programs I had floated around the idea of going into medicine, I even took a few prereqs at a local community college. For some context, I went to a top 20 undergrad and am at a top 5 MSW program. I struggled with severe mental health issues in undergrad, resulting in me failing a class and taking the past of least resistance resulting in a 3.29 GPA and a psychology degree. I was struggling so much that I didn’t have the mental space to even consider what I would be doing after I graduated considering I didn’t even believe I would live that long. In the past 2.5 years I’ve gotten my **** together and with the help of the right medications, I’m good, if not better, than before the mental illness hit. I got straight A’s for 5 semesters but it was never going to be enough to bring up my GPA to what it was before I failed that one class initially (stats).

I didn’t take any science classes in undergrad, other than anatomy & physiology 1 at the community college so I would have to go back and do all my pre-reqs. Thankfully, my father (an ER doc) has said he will pay for my pre-reqs. With the number of courses I have to take, I could conceivably get my GPA up to around a 3.5. Additionally, I have a 4.0 in my first year of grad school.

My biggest question is whether I should finish my MSW degree. I have 3 more semesters left, which would cost ~$45k in loans plus $10k in housing. Will having an unrelated master’s help me in the application process? Or is it a waste of time and money? I’m 24 which isn’t objectively that old, but I want to get moving ASAP.

One benefit I can see in finishing the degree is the opportunity for research publications. I’m currently working with a professor on her research on bipolar disorder which she has said will lead to publications. We’ve already submitted abstracts to a conference, one with me as first author, the other with her as first author. Unfortunately we won’t know if either was accepted until September.

Thanks in advance for your input!
The MSW will not help for MD, but DO schools will count your gGPA.

That said, having the MSW won't add anything in terms of making you more competitive.

Read this:
o Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention
 

chicandtoughness

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DO schools will count your gGPA.
Excuse my ignorance, but could you elaborate on what this means? Is it included in a cumulative GPA calculation, or do you just mean that it is considered in evaluation of candidates? I'm in a similar boat with a counseling masters (4.0).
 

DrStephenStrange

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Excuse my ignorance, but could you elaborate on what this means? Is it included in a cumulative GPA calculation, or do you just mean that it is considered in evaluation of candidates? I'm in a similar boat with a counseling masters (4.0).
The MD app will separate undergrad from graduate GPA with overall and science GPA for both. But the DO app will have a cumulative GPA that includes both undergraduate and graduate GPA.
 
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Goro

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Excuse my ignorance, but could you elaborate on what this means? Is it included in a cumulative GPA calculation, or do you just mean that it is considered in evaluation of candidates? I'm in a similar boat with a counseling masters (4.0).
Graduate GPAs are included in cGPA. The type of MS doesn't help if it's not biologically related. MPH does not help at my school.

One needs to show that one can handle a rigorous medical curriculum. Non-science MS degrees do not do this.
 
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chicandtoughness

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Graduate GPAs are included in cGPA. The type of MS doesn't help if it's not biologically related. MPH does not help at my school.
One needs to show that one can handle a rigorous medical curriculum. Non-science MS degrees do not do this.

Great, thanks. I assume then that my gGPA is really only beneficial to helping me reach any cGPA cutoffs (my cGPA without the gGPA included = 3.4, with gGPA included = 3.5), but beyond that, it has little bearing on proving I'm prepared for med school.

Just gotta make sure I continue killing my postbacc courses, I guess!
 
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michigander95

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The MSW will not help for MD, but DO schools will count your gGPA.

That said, having the MSW won't add anything in terms of making you more competitive.

Read this:
o Goro's advice for pre-meds who need reinvention

While having the MSW won’t make me more competitive, do you think not finishing my MSW will make me less competitive? As in, will it seem like I’m unreliable/can’t follow through?
 

michigander95

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If I was in your shoes I’d forego spending more money on the MSW, *especially* if you can keep doing the research part. First author pubs are very valuable.

If you have the option, I’d knock out prerequisites and ECs, and then apply. If you don’t get in that first cycle, you could finish your MSW in the gap.

The reason why is that they don’t take Master’s GPA into account for acceptance, so your biggest priority should be acing prereqs and killing the MCAT. @Goro may have a more informed take! :)

I should be able to continue doing research as I plan to take my pre-reqs at the same university! How to break the news to my PI that I want to go into medicine rather than social work is a whole different issue. :nailbiting: I just hope she won’t drop me as she actually just offered me a paid job.
 
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